Sun. Jul 14th, 2024

Lamar Jackson celebrates because the Baltimore Ravens beat the Miami Dolphins in Week 17

Glad New 12 months everybody! Based mostly on what I noticed on Sunday, 2024 might be an excellent yr for the Baltimore Ravens – and that is the place I need to begin this week’s column…

1) Jackson enjoying excellent soccer

It has been a formidable couple of weeks for the Ravens, particularly their quarterback Lamar Jackson, who’s now the favorite to be named the NFL’s MVP. He led Baltimore to a 56-19 thrashing of their closest challengers within the AFC, the Miami Dolphins – and that is one week after a 33-19 street win over the No 1 group within the NFC, the San Francisco 49ers.

Lamar has now overwhelmed 10 groups with successful information on this marketing campaign. It’s important to surprise if anybody can cease him and the Ravens this season.

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Lamar Jackson finds Zay Flowers who makes the tip zone for a 75-yard TD!

Lamar Jackson finds Zay Flowers who makes the tip zone for a 75-yard TD!

What was notable in opposition to Miami was he solely needed to run six instances on the evening. This was a passing efficiency – and it was excellent from begin to end. Jackson produced an ideal passer ranking of 158.3, hitting on 18 of 21 move makes an attempt, for 321 yards, 5 touchdowns and no picks. However you do not even want the numbers… you simply watch him play and you realize he is excellent. It would not get any higher than that on the quarterback place.

2) Ravens prime of the pile heading into playoffs

We have talked about Jackson, he is the headline act, however the Ravens are full group. The wins over San Francisco and Miami have been complete group performances.

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Highlights of the conflict between the Miami Dolphins and the Baltimore Ravens in week 17 of the NFL season

Highlights of the conflict between the Miami Dolphins and the Baltimore Ravens in week 17 of the NFL season

Towards the Dolphins, 5 completely different gamers caught landing passes, whereas the protection recorded three sacks and two interceptions to make it seven sacks and as many picks over the previous fortnight. That is a bruising solution to ship a message to the remainder of the NFL.

And although Lamar did not do a lot on the bottom in opposition to Miami, they nonetheless rushed for 160 yards and two scores as a group. This can be a robust group, enjoying a bodily model of soccer, the kind that has produced Tremendous Bowl champions previously. The Ravens are the group to beat as we head into Week 18 and past.

3) Flacco fires once more for surging Browns

Joe Flacco is writing one of many tales of this and any current NFL season. A 37-20 win over the New York Jets for the Cleveland Browns confirmed their place within the playoffs.

Cleveland Browns quarterback Joe Flacco has thrown over 300 yards in four-straight begins

Flacco has now thrown for greater than 300 yards in all of his final 4 video games and the Browns are 4-1 since they signed the 38-year-old quarterback. There is no such thing as a doubt that the previous Tremendous Bowl MVP with the Ravens over a decade in the past has saved Cleveland’s season. He’s a major improve on Dorian Thompson-Robinson and PJ Walker.

The Browns are aggressive and likeable. Their followers have to be so excited by what has occurred.

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Highlights of the New York Jets in opposition to the Cleveland Browns from Week 16 of the NFL season.

Highlights of the New York Jets in opposition to the Cleveland Browns from Week 16 of the NFL season.

4) Chiefs protection bails out Mahomes & co to clinch division

The Kansas Metropolis Chiefs clinched an eight-straight AFC West title with their win over the Cincinnati Bengals on Sunday. However this one could be very completely different to so most of the others, which have been pushed by Patrick Mahomes.

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Highlights of the Cincinnati Bengals in opposition to the Kansas Metropolis Chiefs in Week 17 of the NFL season.

Highlights of the Cincinnati Bengals in opposition to the Kansas Metropolis Chiefs in Week 17 of the NFL season.

This was about Kansas Metropolis’s protection, which is now thought-about top-of-the-line within the league. They dialled up constant and complicated strain that proved an excessive amount of for Cincinnati QB Jake Browning, who was sacked six instances because the Bengals had been held to only 263 yards of offense.

Cincinnati did scare the Chiefs – they took a 17-7 lead on Browning’s landing run with round six and a half minutes left within the first half – however they by no means scored once more after half time and that allowed Kansas Metropolis to clinch the West, regardless of their final six scores all being Harrison Butker area objectives. This offense is caught within the mud; their protection is retaining them afloat.

5) Eagles demise continues to dumbfound

The demise of the Philadelphia Eagles has been one of the vital gorgeous developments of the final 5 weeks of this NFL season. They’ve misplaced 4 of their final 5 video games – their newest a 35-31 defeat to the Arizona Cardinals.

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Highlights of the conflict between the Arizona Cardinals and the Philadelphia Eagles in week 17 of the NFL season.

Highlights of the conflict between the Arizona Cardinals and the Philadelphia Eagles in week 17 of the NFL season.

Quarterback Jalen Hurts has questioned the dedication of the group, large receiver AJ Brown is having a sulk and hasn’t spoken to the media for 2 weeks, however the protection is the true subject – they could not get off the sphere on Sunday, giving up these 35 factors to the Cardinals, in addition to 449 yards!

This group’s move rush final yr was top-of-the-line in NFL historical past. However that has utterly dried up this yr and what was a talent-laden group is now in all probability going to be a wildcard outfit at finest within the playoffs – and few would again them to make a lot noise primarily based on their present kind.

Participant of the Week – Lamar Jackson, QB, Baltimore Ravens

I gave you the numbers behind Lamar’s exemplary efficiency earlier however, as I say, you simply want to observe this man play to see how he shines on the most important of levels. He was one of the best participant within the NFL this week, and has been the entire season.

Lamar Jackson strengthened his MVP case with one other dominant show in opposition to the Miami Dolphins

He has developed as a passer and matured as a runner. He’s a far larger participant now due to his progress in these areas. He protects his physique much more lately.

An enormous month is arising for the Ravens QB. He’s 1-3 within the playoffs, and that’s how his profession will in the end be judged. He has by no means beforehand made it previous the divisional spherical however this group is a number one Tremendous Bowl contender. He has to ship within the postseason – his legacy relies on it.

Play of the Week – Fields’ TD toss to Moore

There have been some nice performs this week, together with some unbelievable catches downfield. However I am going with a seven-yard landing which I believed was excellent – Justin Fields to DJ Moore within the again nook of the tip zone, with actually centimetres to spare.

It was an absolute strike from Chicago’s quarterback, who later added a landing run in a win that has made it seven victories for the season – they usually nonetheless maintain the No 1 choose within the 2024 Draft by advantage of their commerce final yr with the Carolina Panthers.

It’s important to surprise if they will now use one of many younger QBs popping out of faculty or if they may proceed to construct round Fields, who’s catching the attention as we head down the stretch of this season. He’s definitely putting up a great partnership with Moore.

Coach of the Week – Jonathan Gannon, Arizona Cardinals

Jonathan Gannon took a group within the Cardinals, who actually don’t have anything to play for the remainder of the way in which, into his outdated workplace in Philadelphia – the place he was beforehand the defensive coordinator – and took down the Eagles.

Jonathan Gannon is in his first season as Arizona Cardinals head coach

It was a reminder that Gannon hasn’t given up on this season, although losses would end in higher draft picks for this group.

He put collectively an excellent offensive game-plan to reap the benefits of Philadelphia’s ailing protection, received one of the best out of QB Kyler Murray and has undoubtedly offered a extra optimistic feeling across the Cardinals as they head in the direction of the offseason.

On my radar… The Dolphins in opposition to successful groups

We have spoken all season lengthy about Miami’s lack of ability to beat groups with successful information. They don’t seem to be in a position to knock off high quality groups – aside from that one time on Christmas Eve in opposition to the Dallas Cowboys. Each different sport they’ve had in opposition to a group with a successful report, they’ve misplaced, making them 1-4 for the season in these video games. And now right here come the Buffalo Payments in Week 18…

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Highlights of the conflict between the New England Patriots and the Buffalo Payments in week 17 of the NFL season.

Highlights of the conflict between the New England Patriots and the Buffalo Payments in week 17 of the NFL season.

This sport will resolve the winner of the AFC East and who will get the No 2 seed within the convention. It is an enormous sport and Miami merely should reply the bell – and achieve this with a banged-up quarterback in Tua Tagovailoa and with out move rushed Bradley Chubb, who tore his ACL in opposition to the Ravens. We additionally have to see if Jaylen Waddle is again from his excessive ankle sprain.

Accidents have began to chunk for the Dolphins. And, in the end, I feel Buffalo wins this sport… The Dolphins are proper about the place they had been final yr – a great and thrilling group, however one that’s not fairly able to problem the massive boys.

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